Judging Cattle. 2 Different types of cattle

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1 Judging Cattle 2 Different types of cattle Market Steers (A castrated male bovine showing no secondary sex characteristics. Adults that are sold for processing to the packing plant.) Breeding Heifers (A female bovine that has not produced a calf and is under 42 months of age.)

2 Judging Cattle Judging market steers should always start at the ground and work up and start at the rear and work forward. The animals in the class should be ranked based on the traits of importance they possess, and a judge should always evaluate the most important traits first.

3 Ranking of Traits for Market Steers Steers today should be extra thick, medium framed, and adequately finished. For market steers, the ranking of traits in the order of their importance is as follows: Degree of muscling Degree of finish (fat cover) Growth capacity Soundness and structural correctness Balance Frame size

4 Evaluating Muscle Determining degree of muscling should start with evaluating thickness through the center of the quarter. The second view should be an evaluation of base width. A steer that is heavy muscled will typically have good width between its rear feet when it stands and walks. The final view should be evaluation of muscle expression over the top. Heavy muscled steers will have a butterfly shape down the top.

5 Evaluating Muscle The four steers shown in these pictures illustrate animals with thin, average, thick, and super thick muscling. Note the difference in base width among these steers.

6 Evaluating Finish Market steers require a certain level of exterior fat to achieve the amount of intramuscular fat, or marbling, necessary to receive a quality grade of Choice. Areas to consider when evaluating degree of finish: Top line Underline Body depth Brisket Tailhead Udder Shoulder Over the ribs

7 Finish-Too Fat The appearance of a smooth top, the fullness behind the shoulder, and the looseness through the underline reveal that this heifer is over finished. Fat cattle will be uniformly deep from front to back, and full in their brisket and cod. Cattle that are over finished will also have large patches of fat on each side of the tailhead.

8 Finish-Too Much Muscle This steer does not have enough fat to achieve an acceptable quality grade. This steer has prominent indentions behind the shoulders, is very clean over the ribs, is tight through the underline, and free of fat in the brisket, cod, and around the tailhead.

9 Evaluating Degree of Finish The full look of the brisket on the left is near ideal, while the empty brisket on the right reveals a steer that is probably lacking finish.

10 Evaluating Degree of Finish The degree of fill in the cod for the steer on the left is very good, while the fat around the tailhead of the steer on the right may be too excessive.

11 Evaluating Growth Capacity Because steers are sold by the pound, it is important that they have good width, depth, and length for maximum feeding capacity. Width is determined by evaluating width through the chest, base width at the ground (width between the front and rear feet when the animal stands or walks), and spring of rib. Depth should be uniform from front to back and fit proportionally with length and width.

12 Evaluating Growth Capacity

13 Poor Structure Good Structure

14 Evaluating Soundness and Structural Correctness Market steers that are sound and structural correct will have flexible, clean, flat joints, long powerful strides, strong pasterns, good set to their hocks and knees, and big feet that sit flatly on the ground. They will also have long, straight top lines and long, level rumps.

15 Evaluating Balance This picture illustrates a well-balanced market steer. All of the parts (width, depth, and length) fit together nicely.

16 Evaluating Frame Size The optimum steer for today's market should be medium framed and finish at about 1,200 pounds. Large framed steers will get too big before they develop the finish that is necessary to receive Choice quality grade. Small framed steers will get too fat before they reach the ideal market weight.

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